Cal Fire ran into a major problem out of their control on the first day of the Trailhead Fire. At 7 p.m. on June 28, a hobby drone was spotted during, what Cal Fire said was, a crucial time to fight the fire. For 30 minutes, they grounded their planes.
Thanks to social media, Cal Fire arrested the man allegedly responsible for flying the drone. Eric Wamser, 57, was booked into the Placer County Jail Friday on charges of interfering with firefighting operations — a first in Cal Fire history.
“If the hobby drone collides with one of our firefighting aircraft it could bring the aircraft down and cause fatalities,” said Daniel Berlant with Cal Fire.
FOX40 reached out to Wamser via text message, but he said he doesn’t have an official comment on the charges against him at this time.
Hundreds evacuated their homes in Placer and El Dorado counties. Even with a drone getting in the way, fire crews managed to keep the flames that scorched 5,600 acres from destroying any houses.
But it still doesn’t sit well with residents like Joanna Davis who said, “I think it’s really inconsiderate.”
Cal Fire said hobby drones should never be flown in or around fires.
Officials said another drone in a separate incident also interfered with fire fighting during the Trailhead Fire. They’re still looking for that pilot.